Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Choose Your Jesus

When people tell me that they don't believe in Jesus, I ask: which one? SImilarly, when people insist that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, I find myself wondering: which version?

A closer examination of scriptural depictions of the carpenter from Nazareth reveals a strikingly multi-vocal composite. When 'reading against the grain,' the diversity of such descriptions reflect the heterogeneous landscape of proto-Christianity, as communities struggled with questions of gentile-inclusion, apocalypticism, Middle Platonism, the kerygma of the cross, Sophia-Wisdom, etc.

A brief 'history' of Jesus might look something like this:

1) Prototype of the Undivided 'single one' (GTh)

2) High Priest in the line of Melchizedek (Heb)

3) Secret Messiah of the Jews (Mk)

4) Waker of the fallen-asleep (GPet)

5) New apocalyptic Moses (Mt)

6) Universal martyr (Lk)

7) Logos incarnate (Jn)

8) Lamb with an iron rod (Rev)

9) Living book of the Father's mind nailed to a cross (GTr)

10) True Man trampling death (Norea)

Which Jesus kindles your heart with the invitation: "come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" (Mt 11:28)?

Print this post


Diggitt said...

This semester, I have been taking Tom Haverly's NT class at Meadville-Lombard, and have found it fascinating for these reasons. Before taking such a class, how can anyone brought up in our Bible-free congregations have any idea of the variety in Jesus of which we can learn. There are many more Jesuses than Pauls, and quite a few Pauls.

fausto said...

The answer is, "none of the above". The Jesus of Matthew 11:28 is Holy Wisdom; cf. Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sira) 51:23-27, which Matthew appears to be paraphrasing at 11:28-30.